A love affair with Besame… by Cara Hill

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine invited me to a Vintage Glamour party at her place: a company in Wellington, The Vanity Case (www.thevanitycase.co.nz), does them – they’re like tupperware parties but with Besame makeup instead of stupid plastic containers (actually, Tupperware is pretty cool too, just not as good as makeup). Claire, owner of The Vanity Case, will come to your house – where you’ve assembled a group of makeup-loving ladies – and demonstrate retro makeup and hair styles, as well as sell the Besame product range and the Lauren Rennells books to those who want to buy them.

It sounded like so much fun, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend my friend’s party. Not to be left out, however, I decided to hold my own. I had heard about the Besame range through Pinup Girl Clothing and was eager to try it out. I invited a bunch of ladies, bought lots of nibbles and champagne and looked forward to a great evening. I wasn’t disappointed. How can you not have fun playing with makeup and hair, laughing and drinking with a bunch of friends?

The lovely ladies at the Vintage Glamour Party

But the highlight of the evening was discovering Besame, a makeup company that is an ode to the colours, styles and glamour of the 30s and 40s. I was Claire’s makeup model, and the quality of the makeup was noticeable the second she put it on my skin. She started with the Cashmere Pressed Powder – which comes in a beautiful Deco-style compact, and my slightly pink and blotchy bare face became clear and matte in seconds. She put it on half of my face to start with to show the contrast between the before and after, and the rest of the girls actually ‘ooohed’ and ‘ahhhhed’ at the difference.

I won’t go through the whole process, but she used a number of the products on me and all of them were impressive – I wanted to purchase the lot! But I had to be realistic, so I settled for my favourites:

As I mentioned above, the Cashmere Pressed Powder was an instant hit. It made such a drastic change in my skin tone, provided great coverage and took the shininess away for the whole night – despite going out and sweating it up in a dance club after the party. No powder has done that for me before; my face is usually a shining beacon of light within an hour of going out on the town, but here it stayed matte all night. Best purchase ever. I also love that it takes the place of foundation and is so light on the skin; I am not a fan of heavy foundation at all – I don’t like to feel my makeup – so this is great for me. An added bonus, the compact is gorgeous and it comes in a little red velvet bag. But the best part is the fact that you can buy refills of the powder, so you only ever have to buy the compact once.

I also bought the 1930s mascara. It too comes in the lovely gold Besame packaging, so is very pretty to look at (an important but often neglected feature of makeup!). The mascara didn’t blow me away as much as the powder (although, the powder is my new favourite thing in life, so it is kind of hard to top!), but it is still a quality product. It is made from a bunch of natural ingredients that are good for your lashes and eyes and smells divine. It is rather subtle, but it is perfect to layer and never clumps. It also doesn’t smear or goop, but still comes off easily with a gentle eye makeup remover. Did I mention the smell? It is lovely, I have to sniff it before putting it on every morning.

Finally, I chose a lipstick. I already had lovely red and pink colours that I loved (MAC’s Russian Red and Insanely It, respectively), so I decided to go for an orangey colour. Besame’s Carmine fit the bill – it is a beautiful orangey red, not too orange and not too red. I wasn’t sure how it would look on me, but I loved it on. Besame lipsticks are quite matte, but never feel too dry. They have beautiful colour and are apparently quite faithful recreations of vintage lipstick colours. In fact, I was lucky enough to win another Besame lipstick at Dr Sketchy (The Vanity Case is one of the sponsors of Dr Sketchy, hence the lovely lipstick in the prize goody bag!) – Red Hot Red, which is a recreation of Marilyn Monroe’s favourite shade of red. I hadn’t tried it on at the Vintage Glamour party, so devoted to Russian Red as I was, but I was blown away when I finally did. It is such a gorgeous colour – there is no doubt as to why it was Marilyn’s favourite. In fact, don’t tell anyone, but it has surpassed Russian Red as my favourite red lipstick. Besame lipsticks are also packaged in lovely gold containers and come in little red velvet bags – so lush.

All in all, I am supremely happy with Besame and will continue to use the products – in fact, you’ll have to pull my powder compact from my cold, dead hands in order to get me to stop using it! Needless to say, I recommend this range wholeheartedly, not only to those who have a love of all things vintage and vintage-inspired, but also to those who are just looking for quality makeup products. Besame fits the bill on both counts.

Not the best photo, but this shows the loveliness that is Red Hot Red and the great coverage and matteness of the powder (other than cropping it and fixing the red eye, nothing has been done to this photo).

In the US, Europe and Asia, Besame can be purchased at select retailers and from their website: www.besamecosmetics.com.

In New Zealand, The Vanity Case is the sole distributor of Besame – I think Claire supplies it to certain retailers, but you can also buy it directly from her website with free shipping: www.thevanitycase.co.nz. I would also highly recommend having a Vintage Glamour Party if you can; they are so much fun and Claire really knows her stuff, as well as being a truly a lovely person.

For more about me and my love of all things pretty, please check out my blog: http://ilikeprettyclothes.tumblr.com.

13 thoughts on “A love affair with Besame… by Cara Hill

  1. Too funny I’m reading this now! I JUST got MY shipment of the lipstick sampler (I couldn’t decide which color to choose!), the mascara, and the rouge (wearing it now – LOVELOVELOVE it!!!)

  2. I am so not a makeup person as I hate the feel of it on my face, but the pressed powder sounds like a score for my shiny face. Thanks for the great review Cara!

    • No problem! I have been raving about Besame – and the powder especially – ever since I got it, I just can’t get over it’s awesomeness.

  3. Oh I wish someone did parties like this in Australia! Well I guess they kinda do but not with Besame!! Hmmm I think I’m going to have to stock up when I go to the US next year!

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